Over the last couple decades or so, we've seen a cultural shift when it comes to facial hair - one that I am very grateful for. Before, having facial hair meant you were "unprofessional" or didn't care about your appearance. But now, facial hair is an incredible way to add on to your personal style, while still remaining professional.
Especially over the last 8 months or so, we've all had an opportunity to experiment with different facial hair styles while we're mostly sitting at home. I know I have - I tried growing a very long beard, going 1.5 months without trimming it, and ultimately decided that I didn't want to stick with it. Regardless, any amount of facial hair requires some level of maintenance, but personally I think the rewards are worth the effort. The 5 tips below will help you make your facial hair look the best that it can. For my clean shaven friends, your life is already much easier, but feel free to check out the following tips anyway in case you decide to bring some scruff back in the future.
1. Keep mustache hair off your lips
This tip is a really easy way to keep your facial hair looking clean and intentional, as opposed to messy and, well, unintentional. If you're sporting any kind of hair above your lip, you've got to make sure those hairs aren't falling onto your lip. This simply breaks the symmetry and shape of your upper lip, making your face, and facial hair, look unkept. To solve this, just do a quick trim right above your lip anytime you feel your facial hair growing over your lip. It's your preference whether you use a trimmer or scissors, but I personally like to use a trimmer since it's easier to create a straight line. This one single tip will go a long way in making your facial hair look more presentable.
2. Don't bring your neckline up too high
When you're rocking a beard, you obviously want to trim down any neck hair, because again, neck hair looks unkept and sloppy. But that leaves you with a question: how far up do I shave? People have different opinions on this, but I think the strategy that works best for most people is to bring your finger across the bottom of your chin, where it meets your neck, and use that as your guideline. Everything below is what you should shave. If you go above that, you're going to be exposing too much of the extra skin, which in turn can make your face look chubbier (unless you've got a super-chiseled jaw line or something like that). Same thing goes for your neckline towards the sides of your face - keep the line slightly under your jawline. What you should end up with is a slight U-shape of a neckline that roughly traces where your jaw meets the top of your neck. One of the biggest advantages of a beard is the illusion of a sharp jawline, even if you don't have one!
3. Match the tightness of your beard to the tightness of your hair
This is something that I haven't really seen other people mention too often. Your facial hair is basically an extension of your regular hair, so there needs to be some cohesion between the two. For example, if you're rocking a haircut with a really short taper on the sides and it's all lined up, then your beard should also be cleanly lined up to go with your overall look. However, if it's been a month since your last haircut and your hair is starting to get more of that natural look with a couple flyaways here and there, it would look a bit odd to still have that cleanly lined up beard. Instead, you should embrace the natural, rugged beard a bit more to keep that cohesive aesthetic going. Otherwise, there's going to be a clash between the hair on your head and the hair on your face. Keep in mind that both the clean, lined-up beard and the natural, rugged beard can look professional depending on how you take care of it.
4. Use beard oil & a beard brush
Your beard's two best friends (besides you) are the following: beard oil and a beard brush. Let's talk about the first one. Your beard is actually great for your skin, because it acts as an added layer of protection from harmful UV rays. However, the trade-off is that beard hair can make the underlying skin a bit dry and itchy, which isn't the greatest feeling. This is easily resolved by applying a few drops of beard oil every now and then to both hydrate your skin and make your facial look healthier. Of course, the longer the beard, the more drops you have to apply. For my length, I apply 3-4 drops every 2-3 days (my favorite beard oil is this one from Maapilim).
Next is the beard brush. This is a must for any facial hair because it helps ensure all your hairs are brushed in the same direction. This gives your beard a uniform look and also invigorates the skin underneath, helping distribute natural oils to each individual hair. People have also reported that using a beard brush has helped with patchy beards, since it stimulates hair growth in certain directions that can potentially cover up empty patches. I also think that it simply feels incredible.
5. Use a trimmer with an adjustable dial/wheel
Lastly, and this may be a somewhat obvious point, but the trimmer you use to maintain your facial hair plays a big role in how your facial hair ends up looking. You will see a lot of trimmers that simply have different sized clips that you attach for different beard lengths, however I strongly recommend using a trimmer that has a more fluid adjustable dial or scroll wheel. Not only does this give you more granular control over the length of your beard, but it also makes it way easier to make any stylistic changes to your facial hair. You can really achieve the exact look you want by using one of these trimmers instead of limiting yourself to the 3 or 5 standard beard length options that you get with other trimmers. My go-to is the Philips Norelco Series 5000 (the one pictured here is a slightly older model) and it's completely worth it!